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Take Steps to Success by Running

Take Steps to Success by Running
By Alicia Stevens

According to Lao Tzu, “A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.” In the case of a 5K race, the number of steps needed will vary from person to person. Similarly, the reasons to participate will differ from person to person.

Whether driven by a want for a new challenge, weight control method, bucket list item, support of a cause, or a love of running, marathons and 5K events just might help you meet your objective.

According to the American Heart Association, running and vigorous walking reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease, making running a race a great fitness goal. The AHA cites a report showing that as little as ten minutes per day can be beneficial.

Running is, however, a high impact activity, so no matter your level of running experience, a marathon or 5K requires training. According to the Mayo Clinic, beginners can prepare for a 5K in seven weeks with a six-day-per-week schedule alternating between running and walking in slowly increasing amounts over time.

According to Dr. Jeremy Wells, a sports medicine physician with Hattiesburg Clinic in Hattiesburg, it’s important to not rush things in getting ready for race day.

“It’s important to take it slow and steady when preparing for a 5K,” Dr. Wells said.

Jon Stuart, head coach of track and field and cross-country at the University of Southern Mississippi, advised that a beginner “start a walk and jog combination, to build up to the target mileage.” Stuart also recommends that beginners not read magazines focused on running, since these are geared towards people who run 15-20 miles or more per day.

The American Podiatric Medical Association notes that an important first step to running is selecting the proper pair of shoes. This matters because runners can suffer from various injuries, including plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot. Shin splints and a stress fracture can also occur from running. Pain can arise from a growth of nerve tissue called a Morton’s neuroma — it is common in runners.

Shoewear needs to absorb shock well, and the high impact forward motion of running is not suited to the design of all athletic shoes. A podiatric physician can measure your feet and arch height to recommend which shoe type would be best for you.

Happy running!

Running events coming soon to southern Mississippi:

  • 4paws 5K and 1-mile run is scheduled in Ellisville October 13, 2018 to benefit the Laurel Jones County Animal Rescue League. This event allows participation with any two-legged or four-legged friends. For more information, The Animal Rescue League can be contacted directly.
  • Also on October 13, 2018 Hattiesburg will host a triathlon event with swimming, running and cycling combined. The Hub City Hustle organization can be contacted at
  • The University of Southern Mississippi is hosting the 23RD annual Homecoming 5K on October 20, 2018 to benefit the student athletic training club. More information on this event can be found at
  • USM will also host its 2ND Annual Southern Mississippi Softball 5K Run on November 3, 2018 and the Southern Mississippi softball program, respectively. For more information, visit


Alicia Stevens, a resident of Pearl River County, is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two who enjoys traveling with her family and friends.

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